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6 Under-the-Radar Westchester Hiking Destinations to Escape Outdoors

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Westchester County offers a wealth of hidden gem trails that are a delight for local explorers, hikers, and walkers this season.

While many of Westchester’s better-known hiking destinations have become magnets for locals and NYC day-trippers alike, there are still opportunities to explore some of the county’s more arcane trails if you’re up for an adventure.

Eugene and Agnes Meyer Preserve

Armonk

This 247-acre gem straddling the towns of North Castle and New Castle boasts more than 6.5 miles of well-marked trails ranging from family-friendly paths to steep ravines. Along the way, you’ll cross streams and pass lush forests, wetlands, meadows, rocky outcroppings, and cliffs overlooking Byram Lake. The land was donated by the foundation named for the former Federal Reserve chairman and his wife, who built the nearby Seven Springs Estate.

 

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Oscawana Island Nature Preserve

Cortlandt

Overshadowed by George’s Island Park to its north and Croton Point Park to the south, Oscawana Island Nature Preserve is nestled between quiet roads along the Hudson River shoreline. This 161-acre park offers marshlands, ruins of a Victorian-era estate, birdwatching, and trainspotting opportunities along several miles of dirt and gravel trails. Metro-North Railroad tracks run through a tunnel just above a path leading to riverside viewpoints. Parking can be found on Cortlandt Street in Croton-On-Hudson.

 

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Spitzenberg Mountain

Cortlandt Manor

Carved into the steep southern corner of Blue Mountain Reservation, Spitzenberg Mountain is 1.6 miles out and back and features a moderately challenging trek that rewards visitors with sweeping Hudson River vistas. While hiking, you’ll pass an abandoned stone cabin before arriving at the rocky outcropping of its 550-foot summit in Westchester. The trail is primarily used by walkers but open to mountain bikers and may be best suited for weekday visits. It’s situated a safe distance from (but within earshot of) the reservation’s shooting range. Dogs are allowed on leashes; the trailhead is located behind the parking lot at the Sportsman Center.

Silver Lake Preserve

White Plains

At the 236-acre Silver Lake Preserve, you’ll be close enough to Downtown White Plains to see its skyline but far from the honking horns. A trio of connecting trails traverse 4.8 miles that include rugged ravines terraced with wide steps fashioned from slabs of stone. Enjoy scenic views of the lake and perhaps stumble upon remnants of Pop’s Cave. The Heritage Trail, passing Revolutionary War landmarks (marked with red-white-and-blue blazes), also connects with the preserve’s trail system, and a historical marker at the trailhead commemorates the action on Merritt Hill during the Battle of White Plains. The acreage was home to The Hills, an African American community, and is adjacent to Stony Hill Cemetery. (1-59 Old Lake St, West Harrison)

Sylvan Glen Park Preserve

Yorktown

Not far from a busy commercial strip, a dozen trails in the thickly wooded 350-acre Sylvan Glen Park Preserve lead visitors past remnants of once-thriving quarries and crumbling ruins where “golden granite” for some of New York City’s grandest structures (including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine) was excavated in the first half of the 20th century. While hiking, you’ll climb a stone staircase, pass by ponds, and travel an old farm trail en route to commanding views in Westchester. (Morris Ln, Mohegan Lake; 914.245.4650)

Related: Explore Westchester’s Outdoor Recreation Destinations by Town

 

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Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center

Yorktown Heights

Already popular for its farm stand and pick-your-own gardens, Hilltop Hanover Farm is perhaps less known for the 3.5 miles of well-maintained trails across the street. Three brightly marked trails pass a vernal pond bordered by a dam and flanked by picnic tables, over wooden bridges, past wetlands, and through stone walls that crisscross the 120-acre woodlands. (1271 Hanover St, Yorktown Heights; 914.962.2368)

 

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